Cleveland, OH,
15:26 PM

‘The Arts Remind Us of Our Humanity'

Linda Jackson

About 80% of a person’s health depends on factors beyond the hospital walls. Here’s how the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ is embracing the arts to heal a community.

Like many hospital systems, MetroHealth incorporates the arts into its medical treatment and therapy programs. The health system provides these powerful therapies to thousands of patients each year.

But the arts can mean so much more – to a hospital, its patients and the broader community.

That’s where Linda Jackson comes in.  For the last seven years, Jackson has reframed the conversation around the arts at MetroHealth. The arts, she says, must go beyond medicine. They should focus on promoting health and preventing disease – a view supported by a widely cited 2019 report from the World Health Organization.

“The arts can have a profound impact on a community,” says Jackson, Director, Center for Arts in Health, part of the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ “The arts can help people engage with one another and with their health.”

MetroHealth, of course, is building capacity within its traditional creative arts therapies and expanding those valuable interventions to new locations. But so much of Jackson and her team’s work goes beyond traditional clinical settings.

That work includes working with seniors at Scranton Castle, a Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority housing complex near MetroHealth’s Main Campus, on a mural – a project designed to combat the social isolation many of the residents experience.

It also includes the innovative SAFE (Students are Free to Express) Project, which brings professional teaching artists into Cleveland classrooms to connect with students who have been exposed to trauma and toxic stress. That project was recently recognized with an $85,000 research grant from the National Endowment for the Arts – the largest  such award in the state of Ohio.

The Arts in Health team is also coordinating the visual art program for The Glick Center, MetroHealth’s new main campus medical center that will open in October. That work extends well beyond the new hospital’s walls. Jackson’s team, for example, is working with artists and other organizations to develop a suite of arts programming for a new park MetroHealth plans to build outside The Glick Center in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood.

“The arts can remind us of our humanity,” Jackson says.

“We want to create opportunities across the spectrum of health to address mental, physical and social well-being.”

To view the latest quarterly report from the Institute for H.OP.E.™, which includes this story and its latest social determinant of health screening data, click here. For more information about the Institute, visit

About The MetroHealth System

The MetroHealth System is redefining health care by going beyond medical treatment to improve the foundations of community health and well-being: affordable housing, a cleaner environment, economic opportunity and access to fresh food, convenient transportation, legal help and other services. The system strives to become as good at preventing disease as it is at treating it.

The system’s more than 600 doctors, 1,700 nurses and 7,800 employees go to work each day with a mission of service, to their patients and to the community. As Cuyahoga County’s safety-net health system, MetroHealth plays an essential role in the region, caring for anyone and everyone, regardless of an ability to pay.

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth operates four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers throughout Cuyahoga County. The system serves more than 300,000 patients, three-quarters of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

MetroHealth is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio’s only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center. 

As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to research and to teaching and training tomorrow’s caregivers. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Lincoln-West School of Science & Health, the only high school in America located inside a hospital.

Knowing that good health is about much more than good medical care, MetroHealth has launched the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment), which uses a coordinated, collaborative and strategic approach to help patients with non-medical needs such as healthy food, stable housing and job training.

The MetroHealth Glick Center, a new 11-floor hospital, is under construction on the system’s main campus in Cleveland and is scheduled to welcome its first patients in October 2022. The billion-dollar project is the cornerstone of a wider neighborhood revitalization effort led by the system and its partners in the community.

For more information, visit